Saturday, January 12, 2013

One More Try

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

A one night stand produces for Grace (Angel Locsin) and Edward (Dingdong Dantes) an offspring, whose existence he first finds out about when she approaches him after a long time. The kid is sick with a rare type of leukemia that would kill him, unless he gets a transplant from a sibling. The answer should be simple, another one night stand, but what complicates things is the fact that he is now married to Jacq (Angelica Panganiban), and she is now committed to Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo). Will the four of them choose to turn a blind eye on a clear act of betrayal to save the dying child?

Dantes' performance here is way better than his acting last year in that comedy flick called Segunda Mano. Although most people would say that there are actors from other movies more deserving of the MMFF award, at least it could be said that his acting here is competent enough to merit a win. There are less moments of over acting and more on emotions manifested through body language.

Coming from the same comedy movie last year but now with significantly longer screen time that could classify as support instead of cameo, Panganiban seems to be the female lead here in terms of audience impact. Her character seems one dimensional, but after giving her back story, her behavior starts to appear logical. The only caveat is that she sometimes has to resort to hysterics in order to channel her emotions, which is probably what makes the character memorable anyway, albeit awkward.

Marudo is, without a doubt, the weakest link. He gives a better performance relative to what acting pieces he has done before, but this is just not his movie. Most of the reaction he gets from the audience is laughter, which is bad feedback considering how the scenes being laughed at are supposed to be heavy drama.

This is one of Locsin's good performances but unlike in her previous movies wherein she was the sole female carrying the movie, here she shares that load, and while we are reminded on every scene that it is, first and foremost, HER (Grace's) movie, Panganiban gets to grab the spotlight more than she should. In any case, Locsin has shown potential for further versatility as an actress in this movie, but maybe it is just too early for her to play mother roles. The requisite emotion is there, but it is not that credible yet. In any case, the silent demeanor of her character allows her to play aound with more depth and subtlety, as opposed to Panganiban's hysteria.

This movie is not at all that uncontroversial, but more than the accusations of copying the plot of a Chinese movie called In Love We Trust, or the sheer underestimation of what medical science at present could doas already pointed out by most critics, it is the awkwardness that makes you not appreciate this movie that much. It is something hard to explain, but let us just say that had this movie come out two decades ago and the female characters were portrayed by the likes of Lorna Tolentino, Dina Bonnevie, or Dawn Zulueta, then it would not have been that awkward. Or maybe if instead, indie churned it out, then it would have been a different case.

Perhaps it is the paradigm that we got used to, of seeing romantic comedies in the mainstream as opposed to heavy drama that used to be the staple before but has been relegated to the small screen since then. These actors are, no doubt, our generation, but most of their filmography has been littered with romantic comedies that when we see them attempt to do something else, we are just not that easy to tolerate them, even if their acting chops are up for the task. This might be an unfair analysis, because all four give good performances worthy of praise, but it is just what I feel.

Still, I resort to giving this a 4/5 rating because: a) the acting is commendable; and b) it serves its purpose as a short-sighted holiday movie meant to cheer you up on Christmas day by presenting an ending where everybody wins. And no, I do not believe that it will end like that in real life without stab wounds involved. Now, I want to see In Love We Trust.

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